"I've got it all worked out," she went on smoothly, ignoring Harry's and Ron's stupefied faces. She held up two plump chocolate cakes. "I've filled these with a simple Sleeping Draught. All you have to do is make sure Crabbe and Goyle find them. You know how greedy they are, they're bound to eat them. Once they're asleep, pull out a few of their hairs and hide them in a broom closet."
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J. K. Rowling, The Polyjuice Potion
Hermione is truly brilliant. At just thirteen, she single-handedly brews the notoriously difficult Polyjuice Potion and hatches a plan to use it to best effect. Despite ending up with the furry face of a cat (darn that Millicent Bulstrode) she keeps up with her homework, and ends up being the one to work out what is inside the Chamber of Secrets itself. Little wonder she's one of my all-time favourite characters. I certainly wouldn't want to be on her bad side.
These little chocolate cakes are a variation on the double layer chocolate cakes I make each week for the Tricycle Theatre café. They're light, plump, wonderfully bittersweet and totally delicious. Just what I imagine Hermione might be able to source from the Hogwarts kitchens - before she works out that it's staffed by House Elves, of course.
Sour Cream Chocolate Cakes
200g softened butter
200g golden caster sugar
150ml sour cream
200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
120g dark chocolate
1tbsp golden syrup
90ml sour cream
200g icing sugar
12 hole muffin tray
12 muffin cases
Electric hand whisk
1. Preheat the oven to 170C and place 12 muffin pans into a tray.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until very light and creamy. In a measuring jug, mix the eggs, sour cream, cocoa and vanilla with a fork, then pour into the creamed butter and sugar. Beat well.
3. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the batter and fold in gently. Divide between the muffin pans and bake for 20 minutes, until the cakes feel light and springy, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
4. While the cakes are in the oven, you can prepare the icing. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, add the golden syrup, sour cream and vanilla. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, pour the chocolate mix over the top and beat until light and fluffy.
5. Take the cakes out of the oven, cool in the tin for five minutes then cool completely on a wire rack. Ice, and serve.
This recipe is one I've been making for ages - a Nigella Lawson classic from How to be a Domestic Goddess (the bible).